If you are reading this than you know that we publish several blogs weekly on our Web site. We started this for a variety of reasons. Firstly, if we are encouraging our clients to do a blog than why wouldn’t we, for goodness sake? Plus, it creates excellent organic SEO. My blog? Maybe not so much. (I just write about whatever is percolating in my world as a biz owner and there isn’t always a lot of link love involved in these types of missives.)
But two of our VPs write about more topical and hopefully interesting topics. One of our VPs is an ex-journalist. She’s a fabulous writer and a smarty. She really sees things through that lens and that is one of the many reasons I think she is so valuable. In her blogs the journalist often comes out, and it’s quite an interesting experience. She recently wrote about a publication, that will remain nameless, and I thought, oops… Great blog entry, but potentially damning from a publicist’s standpoint. Now, that doesn’t mean I think what she said doesn’t have merit, it’s just that we are in the business of promoting things not critiquing them. Well, of course we critique things, we do that all the time. But that’s generally when we are in the strategy phase and we are considering options. Anyway, it just got me thinking this morning about how the blog “format” has blurred these lines. And how thankful I am that I have such an incredible, smart gal working for me. Even when she’s bad, she’s good!
This week I am going to blog on blogs. I recently took a look at a smattering of my favorite beauty, fashion and chocolate blogs. This week I am “reviewing” (take this word lightly and keep in mind that if I am writing about something it generally means I like it) a variety of blogs in the social media arena. Let’s start with Mashable.com.
Mashable.com is the world’s largest blog on Web 2.0 and social networking and includes articles, news and features on a variety of related topics. The blog was founded in 2005 by Pete Cashmore and has been rated one of the top 10 profitable blogs by the blog ranking service Technorati. If you aren’t interested in the blog, get interested in Pete. Besides being ridiculously smart, he’s ridiculously hot. From publishing real breaking news to offering up great leads on resources and guides in the social media sphere, this is the place to be. I follow Mashable on Twitter (again, great for breaking news and updates on timely perspective).
If you can, try to get yourself to one of the Mashable meetups in LA or NY. And whatever you do, check it out!
Source: facebook.com, mashable.com
Everyone is talking about the economy. For those of us in business we’ve seen how it has affected our bottom line. Some definitely more than others… We’ve fared very well, but we’ve had our moments. Adjusting, and quickly, can mean the difference in making it or breaking it. But, how to adjust? For our company it has been about strengthening our core competency as we simultaneously look for more inventive, if not more revenue generating ways, to do what we do.
I’ve mentioned the concept of transaction quite a bit in the past few months, and for a good reason. It’s one thing to let people know your brand is out there, but it’s another thing altogether to encourage them to buy the goods. As a communications agency we must be focused on spreading the good news about a brand, but I see our role evolving to include the actual “pushing” of product. I believe that our clients will increasingly care about how our work is truly impacting sales. And as an industry it will be increasingly important for us to show how we are enhancing the bottom line. One reason why I am in love with our work in the social space, and why our Consumer Engagement Marketing team continues to push the envelop for this initiative, is because when it is all said and done, generating more revenue for the client (and being able to prove it) will definitely impact our bottom line.
Our company is going through a natural evolutionary shift (in a good way!) I’ve been doing pr for 15 years now—from the bottom up—and I can attest to there being a new perception around what it is that we do. Public relations, along with other disciplines, has always been seen as a below the line proposition (throw them the scraps). But today, below the line marketing platforms are climbing up out of the trenches and making a name for themselves, and there’s a good reason why this is happening. People want to have a conversation, not just be talked to. People want to know what “other” people think, they aren’t so keen anymore to have someone tell them “this is the way it is so try it.” Social media has made it a whole lot easier to connect, share and tell stories. Social media does not belong to the advertising agency or the media-buying agency. It belongs with pr (and the digital shops). Recently, Sapient bought Nitro. Their position was below the line is on the rise and we are turning this ship around. So instead of the guy (or gal) in the corner office churning out television commercials to feed the beast, more engaging, high touch methods are gaining respect, and critical mass. In our agency we have a new platform that is WOM-based but incredibly high touch. We use automated tools, but most of the work is done person-to-person. This is a natural outgrowth of what we have always done and the results for these types of programs have been incredible. So much so that we are launching a new web-based business because we KNOW we can get it out there. What used to feel like a bit of luck has turned into an amazing ROI machine. So below the line agencies rejoice, it looks like our time has finally come!
As a communications agency that does a whole lot of things that could be called marketing (and always has, even when it wasn’t popular), I started thinking about changing the way we positioned ourselves. Should we be a “marketing” agency? With the advent of WOM and the launch of our Consumer Engagement Marketing division and the various ways in which we help our clients build their brands, not only through awareness but also via business development strategies, it just seemed a natural evolution. Until I started really thinking about it… In the IMC process, the agency lineup generally includes advertising, pr, digital, cp and media buying. Not marketing, so much. To re-position your company as a marketing firm might just make it difficult to pitch yourself. Today, specializing might be the best thing to do. But specializing doesn’t mean you have to only do one thing, not really. If you are a communications agency you can add in business development when needed, or brand alliances, or even online viral marketing and content ideation. If you’re a media-buying agency you can come up with brand building platforms that reach well beyond what is considered your scope of work. Advertising agencies are definitely dipping down into digital in way they haven’t in the past. It’s all a big mix, which makes the case that a “marketing” agency could encompass all of these things and have a great place to live. But, I still think it just might be a case of all things to all people, but still a master of none…
Just a thought. We’re sticking with communications, albeit pr on steroids.
RotorBlog is a blog founded by Maris Dagis in 2006 that focuses on social networks and online communications. Dagis (from Riga, Latvia—now that is a country I’d like to visit!) started this blog to provide the LATEST in Web 2.0 news and startup reviews (according to his blog). The blog reaches 160k readers a month (are you one of them?). It’s a great resource for anyone that uses the Internet to communicate, which sounds like a crazy understatement since WHO, honestly, doesn’t use the Internet to communicate these days… But, be that as it may, this is a fab place to stay up on what's trending now. So check it out!
For most of us in the communications/pr world, Cision is THE go-to destination for insider info, great media lists and a wealth of archival press placements. Look, someone had to do it, and Cision did. They have their own blog dedicated to helping communications professionals navigate the evolving media landscape. Honestly, this might feel a bit “insidery” (not a word, I know), but this blog is GOOD. Great writers, great insight, and great cross-section of viable references and resources. If you’re in my business, or anything vaguely related I strongly suggest that you check it out!
“In the unintended consequences department, I’ve come to a realization: I have to drop satire and sarcasm as a vehicle for education, with regards to this blog. If you read the comments on this post, you’ll see what I’m getting at here.
I had no intention of misleading people with my satirical attempt.
My pledge to you, hence forth, is that if I’m telling you about something here, I’ll write from the perspective of positive improvement. Because I have NO memory, please remind me if I ever blow this. I’m human. I get sad and frustrated and stuff.”
This is why I like Chris. I think if you follow him, you might too. Chris is the co-author of the book Trust Agents. He is the president of New Marketing Labs (a new media marketing agency) and produces conferences and educational events through his Inbound Marketing Summits and Boot Camps. He’s spunky and smart (overused word, I get it). I definitely think you should check him out!
Remarkably this site was named the #1 site covering the social web—now that’s a pedigree. The site was launched by J.D. Lasica and CNET named the founder one of the top 100 media bloggers in the world after he launched Ourmedia.org—the first video hosting and sharing site. The site highlights news, trends, tools and resources around social media, social networks and Web 2.0. What is really exciting is the upcoming launch of their sister site Socialbrite.org. This site will work with nonprofits to help them achieve maximum impact with their social media strategy and campaigns (this is all from the horse's mouth, but I have no reason to believe this isn’t going to be the next big thing, so stay tuned).
All in all, a veritable smorgasbord of social media opportunity. Please do check it out!
People have said I’m competitive. I think they’re right. But if I had it my way, EVERYONE would win all the time. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works out there. So, if you want certain things in life you’re going to have to go to the mat.
I’ve understood competition mainly in relation to business. For our company it’s all about the pitch. This is the place where we do our best to get in there and win. But honestly, no matter how much you think you know about your potential client and what they want, after all these years of doing this I realize you can’t really be sure of anything. What may have seemed like an important goal for them or an unassailable strategy turns out to be all wrong. It is what it is. You just have to keep going when you misfire. Just keep swinging the bat, as my friend used to say.
I had a little brush with a new kind of competition last week. I tried out for our golf club championship (A-Flight, way under qualified for this given my experience). I crumbled like a cheap deck of cards. BUT what an amazing opportunity to learn! I’ll tell you something – I think competing in business is a heck of a lot easier than competing in sports. Talk about focus and not letting your head play with your head… I have no problem presenting a new business concept to the president of one of the largest beauty brands in the world, but put a driver in my hand and set me up against some club ladies and WOW, scary! Gives you a new respect for focus and not losing your cool under pressure. After that experience, getting out there and competing for some of the INCREDIBLE new business we have on the docket seems like a cinch. And it helped me think about preparing for next year—because no matter how intimidating it was out there on the first hole, I’m not a quitter. I may not have the competitive spirit of Tiger Woods, but I know you have to keep trying. And that goes for business too.